Create the perfect fall feel with a fireplace facelift

A perfectly designed fireplace brings out the personality of a room, providing a focal point or bringing the final touch to the room's ambiance. And in the cold northern winters, it will also provide much-needed warmth.


A perfectly designed fireplace brings out the personality of a room, providing a focal point or bringing the final touch to the room’s ambiance. And in the cold northern winters, it will also provide much-needed warmth. 

 As the region pulls out fall and winter wardrobes, thick blankets and warm slippers in preparation, many homeowners are taking another step and installing fireplaces or updating existing ones.

   “It’s gotten considerably busier in the past month,” says Ron Hoime, owner of Sunrooms Plus, which features the Fireplace Design Center. “We get a couple cold days and the phone starts ringing off the hook.”

   Sunrooms Plus installs all types of fireplaces - including wood, gas and electric - with a variety of mantle options - wood, stone, brick and more. The store’s showroom at 4224 Gateway Dr. in Grand Forks exhibits a number of full-size fireplace units to browse, as well as a dozen fully installed burning examples.

   “We display a number of different sample panels so people can pick what they like,” Hoime says.


   Sunrooms Plus does retrofits on existing fireplaces, as well as completely new installations in existing homes and houses under construction. The cost can vary widely, Hoime says, depending on infrastructure, design choices and other factors.

  Trends and designs

   Hoime says gas fireplaces are the most popular. They can use propane or natural gas and look like a wood-burning fireplace, complete with artificial logs to create the wood-burning fireplace ambiance.

   But gas fireplaces are easier to operate and maintain than wood, and usually come with a remote control.

   “It’s like a thermostat,” he says, adding that with some models, the homeowner can set the desired temperature and the fireplace will turn off when it reaches it.

   “It’s a matter of a push on the remote to start your fireplace.”

   The main trend now is homeowners replacing existing unused wood-burning fireplaces with gas units, he says.

   Susan Nord, interior designer and owner of Susan Nord Designs in Grand Forks, agrees.


   A recent client of hers entirely redid a ranch-style home in Grand Forks, removing the wood fireplace and replacing it with a gas unit, complete with a dark mahogany mantle that extends the length of the wall.

   Nord has worked on a multitude of fireplace designs to perfectly fit a home. With a recent smaller fireplace, she and the client decided to stack stone up to the room’s cathedral ceilings and install a copper insert.

   She works with local contractors on the installations of new and updated fireplaces, to ensure everything is up to code.

   Some clients, she says, don’t want a mantle at all, but prefer tiling around the fireplace. She’s also updated a fireplace by painting old brickwork around it. This approach can either make the unit stand out or blend in to the room, depending on the customer’s preference.

  Fall specials

   Sunrooms Plus also offers small heaters for homes, threeand four-season porch rooms and more, all featured in the large showroom.

   In addition, the company installs magnetic interior storm windows. They’re popular this time of year and Hoime’s team is out installing plenty of them. He recommends ordering early in the fall or late summer to get on the list.

   A magnetic frame is placed around the outside of the home’s window and a steel ledge is installed around the inside of the window. The storm window snaps in on the inside and seals magnetically to keep the cold air out, creating a significant savings on the home heating bill.


   For the fall season, Sunrooms Plus is offering $200 off fireplaces and 20 percent off magnetic interior storm windows. Hoime says the deal likely will last through October.

   Winter is right around the corner, so make sure everything is in place for cozy evenings in front of a new fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. 

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